24 October 2007

If I ran the world…

News would just be news:

No special (human) interest/emotional hostage material – that’s why we have ET.

I would make it illegal to report anything about any movie star or celebutard – unless they have died, or were in a horrible accident hanging on by a thread. And once they’ve died – report it and move on… How long has it been since we buried Anna Nicole? Other than that, I don’t care what drugs or sexual/party activities in which Paris Hilton/Lindsey Lohan/Britney Spears (fill in the blank-stare) is involved. And, I really truly couldn’t care less about their politics. - Oh, and publishing houses wouldn’t be allowed to publish any books written by celebutards or movie stars unless they know how to put a complete sentence together in a informative or entertaining way… without the help of a ghost writer. (Do I file Madonna’s children stories next to her SEX book in my home library, or what? Oh, never mind – I didn’t buy any books by Madonna.)

Sports tallies and information would be relegated to Sports channels. Sports aren’t news, they’re games.

Weather would be reported on the Weather Channel. Weather isn’t news. (Fire isn’t weather – blue skies are weather.)

And, the newscasters would look less like models and more like the people you trust.

There wouldn’t be the ad-lib chit-chat (Have you ever put the news on mute/cc? It actually says “ad-lib” when the talking heads are talking to each other’s head) between segments and I wouldn’t be able to tell what their politics were just by listening to their words and attitudes on what they report. Can we say “non-partisan” and “un-biased”? Additionally, I think I would try to stop them from trying to be funny… the jury is out on this one – sometimes they say something outrageous and makes my day.

If I ran the world, we wouldn’t hear the heart-wrenching stories on the news of ONE family in a million… who’ve “literally lost everything” – like no one else in any other state ever lost anything. We not only get to hear it… we get to hear it every 15 minutes… on every flipping news channel.

If I ran the world I would make credit cards illegal and expose them for what they truly are – legalized loan-sharking that’s crumbling our economy. Or at least make it illegal to charge interest on interest on interest… Same goes for variable interest rate home loans.

If I ran the world I would illegalize HMOs and Health Insurance. Enough of paying the middle guy to pay only a percentage of your medical bills, leaving you to pay the rest. That’s a great return on your investment. Not!

If I ran the world, animals wouldn’t be more important than children. And, American children wouldn’t be less important than children in third-world countries, even when it comes to movie stars adopting one for publicity… (animal or child). (American children wouldn’t be more important – just not less.)

If I ran the world, perverts and pedophiles wouldn’t be allowed to hide behind OUR (it's not just their, you know) first amendment rights. Non-U.S.-citizens wouldn’t hold more weight and have more rights in OUR U.S. courts and country than U.S. citizens.

If I ran the world, no one would be allowed to trample on someone else’s rights. No one would be abused or mistreated because of someone else’s actions or beliefs.

If I ran the world – there would be no drugs, no abuse and no violent crimes…
Everyone would be happy…
And then we all woke up!

22 October 2007

American Soil-ed

I’m feeling a little saddened today. If you can’t tell by my blogs, I hold a soft spot in my heart for soldiers.

Could someone please explain the logic behind (I know, I’m all about logic)… the logic behind the propaganda against the US’s assistance to Iraq?

Lately I’ve been hearing the term ‘Iraqi Invasion’ everywhere, from my Mom’s friends - to the talking heads on the TV. I find that terminology rude and insulting. It’s a personal issue. You don’t need to agree.

Invasion – entrance of an army to conquer or pillage.

So… are our troops conquering or pillaging over there? Do they take turns? Pillaging on M, W, F and conquering limited to Tu, Th, Sa. Keeps everyone on track. And, everyone gets Sunday off for to watch football.

Since the beginning of the war, websites have sprung up naming, claiming and blaming the deaths of our soldiers in combat. The latest numbers - as of this posting- according to www.antiwar.com/casualities from 3/19/03 (beginning of mission) to 20 October 2007 show 3,149 US Soldiers have died in combat in Iraq. They’re passing around petitions for everyone to sign. They want the senseless deaths to stop. I don’t blame them.

3,149 soldiers. That’s very sad.

My heart goes out to the families and friends of the fallen.

I don’t mean to belittle nor trivialize their sacrifice.

Let’s look at some more numbers and you try to tell me what they mean.

3,023 people

2,865 people

Do you think you know?

Let me help you out. These statics can be found at http://www.disastercenter.com/

Do you know now?

Okay – one more hint.

It’s the number of people who have been killed since the beginning of our mission in Iraq… Do you have a guess as to where?

No idea? Okay – I’ll tell you.

3,023 people have been MURDERED in New York City proper (not including suburbs and outlying areas), since the beginning of the mission in Iraq (March 2003) until present.

2,865 people have been MURDERED in Chicago, Illinois proper (not including suburbs and outlying areas), since the beginning of the mission in Iraq (March 2003) until present.

Shall we do the math?

Five thousand, eight hundred, eighty-eight.
5,888

5,888 murders from 2003-07 in TWO American cities. TWO (2) cities have almost double the amount of killings within the same time period. The tragedy here - there isn’t a war in Chicago, and none in New York City – as far as I know, but nearly 6000 people have been killed anyway.

I don’t see any of you putting a ticker on killings within the city limits of Chicago or NYC. I don’t see any outrage on the faces of the talking heads.

I wonder how much higher that number would be if you added up all of the murders from HI to ME, AK to AL – front to side, top to bottom… Let’s see, shall we?

According to the Disaster Center Website –
17,034 MURDERS occurred in the US in 2006.
16,704 in 2005.
16,148 in 2004.
16,528 in 2003.

They don’t have final numbers for 2007 (obviously), but if I were to average this out with the numbers they provide, I come up with approx. 16,604 murders in 2007.

83,018 people murdered on American soil from 2003-2007.

I, too, want the senseless deaths to stop. Where’s that damned petition?

(This is where you look the other way.)

20 October 2007

That Socks!

I hate folding socks.

If I had a million dollars, I'd pay someone to match, fold and put away the socks of this household.

I cannot remember a time when I didn't have a laundry basket full of socks awaiting a gentle hand to sort and pair them together... a kind of 'match.com' for foot mittens. Maybe when I was two and sock-folding task belonged to my mother.

I sit here - right now - looking at the seemingly insurmountable pile of socks in the white wicker laundry basket sitting on my dining room floor.

I put them there so I can be reminded I have yet one more household task to complete before I can relax. Doesn't work. Just reminds me how much I hate to fold socks. And, as I've already revealed - I'm sitting on my as... living room couch.

Do you know how many socks a household of six females can accumulate? I know - there are only three at home now, but it doesn't make it any less depressing, or the pile any less formidable.

Yes, I could have my eight- and ten-year-olds fold their own dang socks, but then I'd still have to do mine and why give the task I hate most in the world to little people? What kind of person would that make me?

Besides, then I wouldn't have anything to belly-ache about today.

And they'd mismatch most of them anyway. They don't care if one's lemon meringue yellow and another one's sunlight yellow - "Hey! Two yellow socks - BINGO!" Too bad the lengths don't match up and the one's stripes are a different shade of blue than the other's green polka-dots.

Seriously. Do you think anyone would take a job to come in to my house maybe once a week to fold our socks? I don't want a maid.  I don't mind cleaning my own house 'cuz it's small and I know it's clean when I clean it ...but, if I were rich enough I may rethink having a maid ...and a cook ...and a Cabana boy...

"Oh, Cabana boy. Una más cerveza, por favor..." Meanwhile, I sit in my bathhouse, soaking my woes away. Who knows?

Is there anybody out there with a sock fetish who would just LOVE to come to my house and help me out? How much would one charge for that? As my sister would say, "How many nickels you got?"

Is there a website for odd jobs like that?

For instance - I could register as a towel folder, because folding towels is almost therapeutic.

I wouldn't mind unloading a dishwasher, but I really don't like loading one.

I could separate your laundry and start your washer, but you'd have to do the rest.

I'd do your chores palatable to me, and in turn, you'd do my chores that bring me down. (down, down, down, down, down-be-doo-be, down, woe, woe, woe, woe).

Not that I have a household chore fetish, by any means. Truth be told, I could be a woman of leisure. If you wanted to do all of my household chores - hey, who am I to deny you?

I'm accepting applications immediately. Apply within.
.

19 October 2007

Work with me here...

So... I'm waiting for a dictionary from the 1920s to arrive at my house so I can continue to work on my current book(s).

Allow me to share another thought.

I find it funny when someone is trying to persuade you into doing or thinking what they're thinking or doing, they say to you in one form or another: "Work with me here."

Work with me here...

The school district bans peanuts/nuts - I ask the reason behind their logic and I get: "Work with me here..." from the school, from allergymom.com and from other opinionated parents. So... no nuts allowed.

That's it? That's the compromise? No - that's me bending over to your wishes.

Compromise - A settlement of differences in which each side makes concessions.

What concession, exactly, did the school district and Münchhausen's-by-email-address-mom make?

Someone with whom I used to be involved would say to me "Work with me here" when I didn't agree with his decision. And, why should I agree every time? We are two separate individuals with two separate likes and dislikes - just because we were a couple didn't mean our brains melded. It's my life, too. (notice the word ‘too’ - means also.)

Never, not once, did the man concede.

(Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. - The great and powerful Wizard of Odd has spoken.)

"Work with me here" means - Do it my way, or else. No working it out involved.

The religious sect - whether Catholic, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Prot... I don't have enough time to list them all - They all want the other one to "work with me here" by allowing prayer in school, but no chanting in the streets... light the Empire State Building in green, but don't you dare put up a Christmas tree in public... None of your religious decorations allowed, but, here, hang this up to represent mine.

I think my favorite religious irony is that when a service member and her/his family is stationed in Saudi Arabia - they are dictated to leave their Bibles, Hanukkah/Christmas decos and any other religious paraphernalia at home or they WILL BE confiscated &/or destroyed. That includes the Rosary beads your Great-grandmother gave you - even if you don't practice Catholicism, and they're now more of an heirloom. If you're in SA for 2-4 years or more, the family Bible stays in storage - in America. The service member doing a tour for the United States has to follow the rules and customs of the host country. Period. No negotiations. No compromise. Just work with me here.

Now, someone from the Mideast (which I think should be what we call Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, etc. – because on a map it looks to me the mid-west is Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, etc... but who am I?) comes over here - we give them a foot-tub in public places, we bend over backwards not to insult their religious beliefs... we actually debate in court the practice of taking their picture with their burqa on for driver's licenses.

And, on that - taking Muslim women's pictures with their faces covered because it's against their culture/religion to show their faces in public... HELLLLOOOOOO!? It's against their culture/religion to DRIVE. Am I the only one who sees the irony in this?

Work with me here...

I'm not what you would call religious - but that doesn't mean I'm an atheist or agnostic either. It's not 'your way or a heathen (infidel - which, as you know, means non-Allah-believer) be.'

Just like when I lived in GA and the good Southerners learned I wasn’t from the South - the first statement from their mouths was "You must be a Yankee!" And, when I lived in NY, New Yorkers assumed I "must be from the south"...People - work with me here. There's a whole bunch of America WEST of the Mississippi River! It's got a Wal-mart and everythin'. (Check it out. You should have a map hanging around somewhere.)

More and more congressmen & women ask us to work with them to come to a compromise on health care, illegal immigration, and their annual pay raise... but what they're really saying is:

Get ready to bend over.

P(m)S. Did you ever notice Hillary smiles with her mouth open? A lot? Try going the whole, entire day like that.  Okay - try it for fifteen minutes, then. No wonder Bill hooked up with Monica. Hillary's poor mouth was always too tired by the end of the day. (to talk... what did you think I meant?)
.

17 October 2007

Baby pills for our babies

Good Morning, Y'all :o)

I just finished watching ABC New's Good Morning America, where they had on Glenn Beck and Logan Levkoff discussing prescribing birth control pills to our girls in Junior High.

I don't know how I feel about that... yet... let me think on it.
But here are some of my initial thoughts:

Haven't there been studies showing the pill causes cancer, especially in women (and in this case, I use the term lightly) who smoke? And we've been told our kids are smoking as young as nine now. I know, some people say they're having sex that young, too. I don't know if I want to believe that.

Aren't you only supposed to take it for no more than ten years? So, when they're 21... what?

Sure, it keeps the kids from being parents, (and ironically keeps the parents from being parents) but it also (this is where my mind goes to the Stephen King side of the realm of life - things that go bump in the night) keeps the pedophile parent from worrying about fathering his own grandchild.

And, it puts the onus and responsibility on the female - much like that new vaccination with is supposed to take care of... I don’t remember...  25% of the HPV virus - the virus girls get from having sex with boys which can cause PID and then cervical cancer in some females.

My first three children were born in the 1%... meaning - I was on birth control when I found out they were obstinate zygotes. And, they have yet to follow my wishes. Viola! Three kids under five years of age. The pill is supposed to be 99% accurate (or as my mom says - ak-rit) but supposed to be's don't always be's.

Why don't we just clip the boy? You know, reversible v? Or medically castrate him? I hear the male of the species has a sex drive 20 thousand times greater (calm yourself - I exaggerated for effect) than us poor, frustrated women (which I don't believe for a second - we women are just so much more sophisticated and demure... and have been told our entire lives GOOD girls aren't supposed to engage in it, until we're at least engaged, that is), so isn't it his responsibility to make sure his gift isn't one which keeps on giving? What threat do our girls pose on our boys?

Don't get up on your high horse. Much I say is tongue-in-cheek. And, since I have five girls, I have a different and biased point of view here.

These are our children. Do you want the school to administer birth control without your knowledge when they already have the right to distribute condoms?

I think handing our burdens to the schools in regard to what our kids eat and what they watch and what prescriptions they take and the morals/values/concepts, etc., we want them to learn is irresponsible. I remember one 'poster' said she wanted the school to teach her child how to survive in this world... I disagree. I want the school to teach my child her three Rs - wRiting, Reading, aRithmetic (I still do that thing... which, come to think of it is probably socially unacceptable now - a red Indian thought he might eat toast in church - my second grade teacher taught me that to help me learn how to spell arithmetic.) She taught me to spell. She didn't teach me tolerance. That was a job for my parents. (Thank you, Mom).

On the flip side - some kids can't go to their parents to do the 'right' thing by getting on the pill if they want to have sex. (It still makes my stomach turn to think of little girls having sex with little boys). Let me clarify - I don't think it's either right or wrong to go on the pill. Not my call if your child is doing this. I only worry about mine - not because I'm a heartless bitc... um, well, you know what you called me - but because I'm only responsible for mine and your values aren't the same as mine - so how dare I impose my beliefs and values on what you want for your child. I wouldn't want you to impose yours on us. Don’t get me wrong - if I see you abuse your child, I'm making a phone call. And, I'm not talking about discipline - I'm speaking of real abuse.

Maybe it's more about teaching our girls to think for themselves and not be pressured in to having sex.

Maybe they shouldn't be exposed (ha ha, no pun intended) so early to the joys of sex.

I know if someone handed me a condom in Jr High, I would have looked at it and thought something like: "Why are they putting balloons in wrappers now?" But that was over a hundred years ago - things were much different then.

Enjoy & In Joy,
...

15 October 2007

The Burdens We Carry

Amy became aware she was no longer in her bed.
She stood on a plateau of grey nothingness. Around her were people of all different shapes and sizes, but all were charcoal grey from head to toe.
Even their clothing looked colorless.
She was taken in by the vastness of the plateau and the infinite number of people she witnessed.
Amy looked down at herself.
She, too, was the monochrome of the others; her skin as dull as the garment she wore.

The people looked ahead with anticipation on their faces. Amy's eyes followed theirs and feelings of wonder and hope overcame her when she saw a glow on the horizon. Her heart beat faster and she had the urge to run as fast as she could toward the source of the beacon.

Amy took a step forward and felt a heavy weight upon her back. She noticed when others took that first step forward a brightly colored bag appeared on their backs. The others grabbed the opening of the bag as it slung over their shoulders and trudged burdened but blissful toward the beautiful horizon.

"How can they walk with such pressure?" Amy thought. "I wonder what it is."
She removed the bag from her shoulder, pleased to see it was yellow. She always enjoyed the color yellow.

A golden cord kept the contents from spilling out, but Amy had no problems opening the bag. She peered inside and saw glowing bricks of gold. She picked one up. No, it wasn't real gold of earthly fame. It was just a heavy golden brick. And, man, it was a burdensome load.

Amy began to cry.

A man walking by was saddened by the sound.
"Please, Miss, don't cry. Is there anything I can do to help?"
"I don't know you, do I?" Amy said through her tears.
The man put down his brilliant blue bag and held out his hand.
"My name is Paul. Tell me, what can I do to help? You seem so lost and afraid."
"I am afraid. You see, I have all of these bricks to carry and I'm unsure if I can do it. I'm so afraid I won't make it. I feel so alone."
"Would it help if I carried that brick for you? Would that lessen your burden?"
"Yes, Paul, I think it may." Amy handed the brick to Paul and as their skin touched, a feeling of love and security washed over her. Her heart felt less heavy as Paul opened his bag and placed Amy's brick on the top.
As he closed the bag, Paul looked at Amy with love and gratitude.
"It pleases me to have helped you, Miss. Thank you for allowing it."
"Thank you, Paul," Amy said, as she picked up her own bag, flung it over her shoulder and started toward the light.

She had gone quite a bit when the bag felt more burdensome. She looked ahead at the light, which didn't seem to be getting any closer. She felt despair wash over her. Amy sat down and started crying once more.

An old lady passing by stopped and sat down next to Amy.
"My dear child, you look distraught. Please, tell me what's wrong."
"Oh, it's nothing. I don't mean to hold you up, Ma'am. Please, continue on your way."
"Friends call me Mabel. 'Cause it's my name, you see," said Mabel.  "Now you just wipe that pretty little face of yours and come out with it. I needed to sit a spell any old how."
Amy wiped her face with the back of her hand. She looked at the old woman sitting in front of her. Mabel wore deep caverns in her face from years of life and love. Her grey, watery eyes held a story of their own.
"It's just that I don't think I can make it. It feels so desperate and the way is so far. I want so much to continue, but it is too much."
"Oh, is that all?  Well, why didn't you say so?"  Mabel reached over and opened Amy's yellow bag. She took the top brick from Amy's bag and placed it into her own scarlet one.
"That should help," she said. And with a swift motion, Mabel swung her own bag onto her back and resumed her walk toward the horizon.
Amy stood and picked up her yellow bag, which was now considerably lighter. She thought she could make it. In fact, now she knew she could.

It wasn't long before Amy's bag began to dig into her back. She stopped walking at once and threw the bag down. How was she ever supposed to get to her goal if things kept happening to her? It made her really angry she had to deal with this. Why her? Nobody else looked like they were in pain. She looked around at the other souls making the way toward her goal - HER reward.
"IT'S NOT FAIR!" she screamed into the crowd. People stopped and gaped at her.
"DON'T LOOK AT ME THAT WAY!" she shouted. "YOU PEOPLE HAVE NO RIGHT TO WALK WITHOUT PAIN. LOOK AT ME. LOOK AT MY PAIN. YOU HAVE NO RIGHT, I TELL YOU! IT'S JUST NOT FAIR!"
A little boy held out his hand to Amy.
"Give me what causes you pain," he said. "I am young. I can handle it."
Amy was so angry she almost threw that brick at him, but in one deft movement, the boy caught the brick and tucked it neatly away in his purple bag and smiled.
"Thank you," he said as he continued on his way.

But Amy still steamed with anger. She wanted to punch someone. Anyone. Then she felt a warm hand upon her shoulder. Amy turned around.
A kindly old man stood with his hand outstretched.
"That much anger will make a soul sour. You need to relieve yourself of it. Come on, hand it over before your heart turns to stone and all hope is gone."
Amy dutifully grabbed the topmost brick and handed it to the man in silence. Her anger dissipated. Her heart felt light once more. The pain in her body disappeared. She was ready to continue on.

Amy picked up her bag and noticed there were only three bricks left. Her burden felt lighter, manageable even. She might be able to make it to her goal so very soon. She swung the bag on her back and practically skipped on her way, leaving other souls in her wake. But as she passed, she began to notice something strange. The people walking along beside her, the people she passed as she practically ran glowed with a soft yellow light. She looked down at her own skin. It answered back in monochrome.

Amy looked far ahead and saw the souls way up there almost beamed with golden light - much like that of the horizon. She stopped in her tracks. Maybe something was wrong. Maybe she should be turning golden, too. Maybe she'd walked too fast and hadn't given the light ahead a chance to soak through her skin.

"Is anything wrong?"
Amy turned to see a woman about her own age standing a few feet away.
"Um, no, I don't think so anyway. I was just... I was just thinking that maybe I should have walked slower. Maybe I didn't do this the right way. What do you think?"
The woman looked toward the golden horizon. Amy noticed a golden glow emitting from this woman's skin. She felt a pang of jealousy. The woman looked into Amy's eyes and smiled.
"I know what you're thinking," she said. "You have doubts about your trip; about your destination; about your origination. You also feel you should be this golden color; that you deserve to glow, too."
"How do you know that?" Amy asked.
"Because I feel that way, too. I have doubts and moments of jealousy. But, I think I've figured out a way to work through these thoughts." The woman held out her hand to Amy. "Please let me help you."

Amy reached in her bag and handed two bricks to her. Amy felt gratitude for this stranger who wanted to share her burden. After the woman placed Amy's bricks into her own green bag, Amy leaped forward and hugged the woman fiercely.
"Thank you ever so much. You have been such a blessing to me," Amy said.
"And, thank you, Amy. I've always been here to help you."
"How did you know my name?" Amy looked deep into the eyes of the woman standing before her and recognized her sister at once.
Her sister smiled and said, "Now, go. You have much ground to cover." She kissed Amy on the cheek.
Amy heart overflowed as she left her sister and took her yellow bag with only one brick and ran as fast as she could toward her goal. She passed people along the way who stood, crying about their own burdens. Amy felt no pity. She watched as others ran to these poor souls' sides to assist in their loads. Amy had no time for that. Her goal was so close.
So very, very close.

Amy came to a tower of golden beams - the most beautiful thing she ever saw. She wanted so much to enter. Then her heart lurched when she realized it held nothing of tangible substance. Only light.
She turned and looked out over the crowd of souls headed her way.

A man walked up beside her, his own bag brimming with burdens; his skin too brilliant to see. She watched as he opened his bag and poured grey sand on the ground. She saw him throw his orange bag far into the air. Amy sucked in her breath as the orange bag disappeared into the vastness above, and she covered her mouth in awe as the man disappeared into the golden tower - becoming one with the light of the goal.

Amy looked into her own bag. The brick inside continued to glow a bright golden. It had yet to turn to grey sand.

A woman beside Amy busily poured sand from her own bag.
"Excuse me." Amy cleared her throat and continued. "Please forgive, but do you know why I'm not golden? Why hasn't my brick turned to sand? What have I done wrong?"
"Oh, that's just silly. You can't do anything wrong, child," the woman said. "Here, let me see."
The woman looked into Amy's bag.  "Well, dear, wherever are your bricks?"
Amy pointed into the crowd. "I gave my bricks to them."
"Oh, I see. Paul has your FEAR. See, he's struggling under its weight... no, wait. See! He's overcome your FEAR." The woman sighed in relief.

Amy watched as Paul stood straighter and glowed brighter.
The woman looked around some more.
"There now, I see you've given your DESPAIR over to Mabel. What a wonderful woman she is, don't you think? Full of life and vigor... a real down-to-earth woman she is. Wait. I think your DESPAIR may have done her in... no. Great! WAY TO GO MABEL. KEEP ON TRUCKIN! See, my dear, nothing to fret. Mabel had her own despair to overcome first, and then she handled your DESPAIR with ease." The woman finished emptying her bag. She rolled it in a ball and prepared to toss it into the sky.

"No, wait, please." Amy started. She was mesmerized at the glow Mabel now emitted and wondered at the calm look on Mabel's face as she walked toward them.
"What dear?" The woman lowered her hands, still holding her bag.
"Please... more," was all Amy could muster. Her heart raced and she felt she may have made a big mistake.

"All right, then, if I have to show you from A to Zed - We all have our burdens to carry. To you, yours look worse than mine. But, look at that woman there." She pointed at a young woman walking toward the light. "Her burdens were the same as yours, but her FEAR, DESPAIR, ANGER... well, all of them actually, stemmed from cancer. Look at the little boy who took your PAIN. His burdens stemmed from child abuse by the people he loved."

Amy searched the crowd and found the boy on his back. His mouth opened in a silent scream. His eyes watered with tears and his body writhed in pain.
"Oh my God! No, I didn't mean... but he wanted it. He asked to take my pain. He THANKED me for it."
"Didn't they all? Just because one offers, dear, doesn't make it okay to burden others with your bricks. Now look at the old man to whom you unloaded your ANGER."
Amy had a difficult time taking her eyes from the little boy, who was now curled up in a ball and rocking back and forth on the grey, unforgiving ground.

She pulled her eyes away and searched the crowd for the old man. She not as much saw him as heard him. His angry voice carried over the crowd.
"GET OUT OF MY WAY, YOU IGNORANT FOOL! WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON'T AGREE WITH ME? HOW DARE YOU THINK YOU KNOW ANYTHING, YOU IGNORAMUS!?"

The man sat on his bag and shook his fists at others. Hatred blazed on his face. A small girl walked up to the old man and handed him a brick from her own bag. The old man stopped shouting, put the girl's brick into his bag and started walking toward them again.

"What just happened?" Amy asked.
"That young child gave the old man her LOVE. The only brick one should ever give away, because, you see - once you give it, another one replaces it in your bag. Look. See? You still have your LOVE, even though you gave it away."
Amy looked in to see the one remaining brick in her bag.
"But why is LOVE a burden?"
"Oh, my dear. You’ll have to figure that one out for yourself."

Amy looked out across the crowd, searching for someone. Her eyes rested on a beautiful woman, about her own age, sitting on a bag, sobbing pitifully. Amy knew her sister struggled with DOUBT and JEALOUSY. She knew because she had burdened her with them.

Amy looked for the little boy. He stood where he once lie, weak and limp, but his skin glowed a little brighter and a smile crept onto his worn face.
Amy looked at her sister - the goal so close, but seemingly given up.

Amy looked at the woman beside her.
"But I didn't give it away. LOVE, that is."
"Why forever not, dear? It's the only burden you carry worth giving away." The old lady threw her bag into space and joined her light with the others. Amy stood alone. And, she felt more alone than she stood.

She looked into her bag. Her golden brick taunted her.
She peered out into the crowd. The boy had started walking. She ran to him.
"Hi, Lady," he said weakly. "What brings you back here?"

Amy took the brick out of her bag and handed it to the boy, whose face beamed brighter once the brick touched his skin. He placed the brick into his bag and wrapped his arms around Amy's neck.
"You are a kind and wonderful being," he said.
She didn't feel so kind and wonderful, but she hugged him back just the same.

She then ran to her sister.
Amy put her hand into her bag and pulled out another brick. The woman was right. It replaced itself. She handed the brick to her sister.
"I am sorry to have burdened you with my JEALOUSY and DOUBT."
Sis took the brick and smiled at Amy.
"Thank you, Amy. I was sitting here, feeling it was unfair you got to enter first, but now I see you deserve to go first. You are a wonderful and kind person. But, I doubt if I'll ever be good enough to enter."

Amy felt her bag. Sure enough, there was yet another brick in it as promised. She pulled it out and handed it to her sister, who took it. She noticed her sister's skin begin to glow a brighter golden. Then she noticed something else: Her own skin shone just as brightly.
Amy pulled her sister up and took her hand.

"Come on, Sis - Let's go there together."
...

14 October 2007

You have how many kids?

I just got back from a conference this weekend where I met quite a few people.

You’ve been to these things, right? You go to the sessions and write down notes you know you’ll probably never look at again unless, years later, you’re looking for something totally unrelated and come across them. And you read them over and say, “Oh, yeah. I remember this conference/speaker.” Then you put it back in the pile to be found the next time you’re looking for something else totally unrelated – until then, promptly forgotten.

After the different speakers, we all mill around and share small-talk.

Always (and, yes, I can use the word always in this sense) someone will ask me about my family. I tell them I have five kids and they raise their eyebrow. I know what they’re thinking – either they’re my age and remember the zero-population-growth goal...

Wait. Please allow me to go off on a tangent.
I’ll get back to my kids – I promise.

Al Gore just won the Nobel Peace Prize for… um, I’m not really sure, but I know I’ll never feel the same about this prize EVER again… unless, of course, I win. And then it will rise in my esteem to the quality and awe it once held…

Anyway – he thought up this wonderful way for the ultra rich to feel good about their wasteful energy consumption (now, remember people – these are my words and my feelings and just because I wrote them down doesn’t mean you have to agree with me, nor do you have to send me nasty emails about how stupid I am because I fail to agree with you. I gave up years ago trying to convince anybody I am right and they are wrong, frankly, because everyone has their own truths directly in association with their own experiences… that is my disclaimer, now please allow me to resume) by paying some large corporation the amount of money equal to the ‘carbon footprint’ each wasteful person applies to this earth.
In turn, this corporation is supposed to use this money to work on lowering pollution in one way or another. I know I’ve boiled this down to a nutshell (sorry allergymom.com for the slur. I hope it doesn’t cause a reaction), but that is basically the idea of the footprint fallacy.

I have a few problems with this. You know, things which just don’t compute?

* First – Just because you pay a few bucks (comparative to your income), your energy waste doesn’t decrease. It just makes you feel better about being wasteful. The more energy you waste = the more money you contribute = the better Americans you are. Pat yourselves on the backs.
* Second – huh?
* Third – um, I think I’ll go back to the two problems above.
* Fourth – Soon all the energy waste and ‘carbon footprint’ culpability will be placed on Joe Schmoe who is only trying to make ends meet; can’t afford gasoline so he walks to work; grows his own vegetable garden because he doesn’t have the money for food and is too proud to take food stamps or welfare (which is a program, in my opinion, that exacerbates the social deficit problem). He won’t be able to even pay the… uh, I don’t know. Let’s just say $100/month… to zero out his carbon footprint. Therefore all of these wonderful SUV driving, million-dollar-home owning, fly-across-the-world-for-a-burger people will be secure in the knowledge they did their part to make this world a better, greener place.

Damn you, Joe Schmoe! You’re ruining our country. Off with your head!

Now, I hate to inform you Al Gore did not come up with this concept.

Back in 1987, when I had my third child – which screwed up the zero-population growth initiative touted by the media at the time – I came up with a brilliant plan:

Daughter #1 aligns under me.
Daughter #2 aligns under her father.
My brother, a wonderful and brilliant man, decided years ago he never wanted to father a child, thereby allowing me to place daughter #3 in line with his column.
Viola!
Zero population growth – no offspring footprint! I am in alignment with the ‘good’ people of the United States.
(I’ve since screwed up this incredible strategy by birthing two more females. Does anybody have an empty column or two to sell so I can feel better about myself?)

I think I’ll sue Gore for stealing my idea.

Unless, of course, he thought of it before 1987 –which suggests he takes a long time to implement a plan.
By the way, have you noticed the media has since all but abandoned the zero-population growth scheme? I wonder why. It does take the onus from me, however. Life is good.

Okay. I’m done. Back to the main point of the story (if I ever had one.)
...or they’re ten or so years younger than me, when it became the in-thing to wait until their 30’s to have a child.

(I’ll wait for you to go to the top of this post to read what I had written so you can catch up. I had to.)

I always get the same responses:

“Five children?!”

“Yes. And all girls.”

“All girls?! Bless your heart.”

Okay – another tangent.

I lived in the Southern US from 1999 to 2005. I’ve heard “bless your heart” too many times to mention. After observing and watching, I learned the true meaning of the phrase. It means: “You’re so stupid.”
Stay with me here.
You see someone trip.
A proper woman walks over and helps them up saying: “You tripped on that little ol’ thing? Why, bless your heart.”
Someone spills coffee down their front. You hear the person next to them say: “Oh, my goodness. That coffee is hot. Did you get burnt? Bless your heart.”
And then, as I said: “You have five girls? Bless your heart.”
Don’t take my word for it. Try it out. The next time you hear “bless your heart” fill in the words “you’re so stupid” and see if they fit. In my experience, they fit like a glove. And now, back to my story.

They raise their other eyebrow. Then the conversation goes either one way or another… “What are their ages” or “You gonna try for a boy?”
???
...again, I say “huh?”
Think about that one, people.
Am I going to try for a boy?
At such question, I slap my forehead with the palm of my hand and say, “Damn! Why didn’t I try for a boy when I had the chance?”

Then: “You don’t look like a mother of five.” (Thank you, but I’ve always wondered and never asked – how is a mother of five supposed to look?) Or: “Wow, you must have started early in life.”

I was 22 when I had Diana. I grew up in a little western town – Lander, Wyoming. All of my friends and associates were married with kids by the time they were 19. I was considered ‘old’ when I married at 21. Nowadays this is considered - in most American cultures - to be too young and girls are encouraged to wait until at least their late 20’s to be married and into their 30’s to become mothers.

I did both – kids in my early 20’s and kids in my mid-late 30’s. I’ve been a mother of prepubescent female children for over 23 years now.

Bless my heart.

09 October 2007

not to be confused with...

A bunch of words my family commonly misuses and/or mispronounces:

Forte - Something in which a person excels - pronounced fort.
Forte -  a note, passage, or chord played loudly and forcefully - pronounced for-tay.

Peruse - to read or examine with great care - pronounced per-ooze.
Scan - to examine closely... or to look over hastily (one definition) - pronounced skan.
Glance - (one definition) a brief or cursory look - pronounced glans.

Gist - the central idea of the matter, essence - pronounced jist.
Essence - the most important ingredient; crucial element (one definition) - pronounced es-ens.
Idea - a notion or fancy; significance or a specific action or situation (one definition) - pronounced i-dee-a

Comprehend - to grasp mentally; understand or know - pronounced kom-pre-hind.
Reconcile - to bring (oneself) to accept; to make compatible or consistent (one definition) - pronounced rek’en-sile.

Special - surpassing what is common or usual - pronounced spesh-el
Spatial - of, pertaining to, involving or having the nature of space - pronounced spay-shel.

Gird - a sarcastic remark, to jeer or jeer at - pronounced gurd.
Sardonic - scornfully mocking and derisive, bitter, scornful - pronounced sar-don-ik.
Sarcastic - expressing a sharply mocking or contemptuously ironic remark intended to wound another - pronounced sar-kas-tik.
Irony - the use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning; a literary style employing ironic contrasts for humorous or rhetorical effect - pronounced I'ra-nee.

Scullion - a servant employed to do menial tasks in the kitchen - pronounced skul-yen.
Serf - a slave, esp. a member of the lowest feudal class; a person of servitude.
Maid - a female servant - pronounced made.
Famulus - a private attendant or servant - pronounced famya-les.
Hackneyed - Overused and thus cheapened; trite - pronounced hack-need.
Mother - a female who gives birth, or watches over, nourishes, protects; female who holds the position of authority or responsibility; a creative source - pronounced mu-ther.
...

05 October 2007

Now here's a good story for you

I am often asked why I wrote "Daddy's Boots" and "Momma's Boots" when there are plenty good deployment books out there.
I'll tell you now what I told them then.
Back in 2004, we had a French foreign exchange student, Ophelie - a quiet, unassuming seventeen-year-old with a fetching smile and pleasant disposition - stay with us for four weeks in the summer. She came with a group of twenty other students from her school, all of which were placed in homes in the nearby town of Columbus, GA. However, our family lived on the Ft. Benning Military Base - Home of the Infantry. Hooah!
We were awakened in the morning by shells exploding in the nearby fields, and lulled to sleep with the whirring blades of Blackhawk Helicopters flying overhead. It was nothing to see a parade of HMMWVs (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle – or, Hummers to you civilians), tanks, or Bradley Fighting Vehicles trudging down our street.
We often took our children to watch the Ranger graduation, where the soldiers put on a demonstration of the skills they've mastered - an awesome sight. If you ever get the chance to observe I highly recommend it.
From every corner of Ft. Benning we witnessed soldiers floating in the sky in a graceful fall toward terra firma as they learned airborne skills.
And, the one thing I took for granted - in fact, I barely noticed after nineteen years of military association - the men and women walking the streets of our installation donned in the Battle Dress Uniform (BDU), whether it be desert camo or olive drab green.
Ophelie noticed. It took her a few days to summon enough courage to share her concern with us.
"Am I allowed to see them?" she asked. "Will I not be shot? Do they know I am French?"
It all became so clear.
I tried to explain to her our soldiers are not to be feared. They do more humanitarian efforts than wartime activities during their years of service.
She asked, "Don't they kill? Aren't you afraid?"
No.
No, I have never been afraid of any person wearing the uniform of our country. They are not the SS of Hitler fame. They do not seek out confrontation and combat. They serve and protect much like our finest policemen. They rescue and give comfort and aide. I never felt safer than when I lived on a military installation.

No.
Our men and women of the military are summarily good and decent people just trying to earn a living doing what they love. Unfortunately, they don't earn much of a living, but that's another topic for another time.
I know there're exceptions to every rule. You have your bad cops, your bad doctors, your good lawyers and congressmen, and some soldiers have indeed marred the honor, duty, country oath they swore to uphold, but all of those examples are comparatively few.
I took Ophelie to a Ranger graduation. Then we went to the airborne field and watched my eldest daughters' best friend, Amy, do her final airborne school jump with her father - who is also in the Army.
I took her to the Infantry Museum, where our military history is displayed for all to see.
She took it all in - amazed at our openness.
She explained to me the French military worked in seclusion and secrecy, much different than what she observed at our house.
She may not have left the United States with a typical American experience to tell, but I can guarantee she had much more rewarding one than shopping at the mall.

I was retelling this story to a friend of mine from high school. She's not associated with the military at all. I was surprised to find she held the same impression as Ophelie about our military.
And, it dawned on me.
Not very many people pay attention to what our soldiers really do.
Sure, they know they go to foreign lands and shoot babies... don't they? Isn't that what Jane says?

No. They go to Louisiana and help victims of a small hurricane named Katrina. They go to Wyoming and help put out a tiny fire that wiped out Yellowstone National Park. They go out to sea and help rescue boats caught in a storm. And, they go to foreign lands and do what they can to help the people of that nation whose lives are being turned upside-down by a tyrant.
Wait... I feel myself going off on a tangent.
Back to the main point.
I saw a need.
I wrote the book... books.
I hope you like them and they bring you and your families some comfort if you are lucky enough to have someone close to you serving in the United States military.

Yesterday my children were playing outside with the other neighborhood children. They were playing "town." I heard much commotion, so naturally I went out to see what was up. Jo (the town's police officer) said Levi wouldn't stop shooting everybody. I asked why he was shooting. He explained he was the Army guy of the town.
Jo said her dad was in the Army and he never shot anybody in his life. Levi asked me if that was true.
Yes.
Yes, it is.
Over 20 years in the Infantry - and not a shot fired at another human being. Or baby.
Christian then made Levi do 25 push-ups. Now, that's more like it!

Life, Liberty and the pursuit...
In Joy and Enjoy -
S

03 October 2007

Peanut Poison

A word from the prohibited peanut (gasp!) gallery:

Sorry people. I decided to remove my comments as they were causing too many of you to lose your self-control and self-respect. And, gave cause for me to wonder about the state of your mental health. You'll have to go to someone else's site who doesn't agree with everything you stand for to get your aggressions out for the day. It may take awhile to find one - I find that the 2% of the population is far more out vehemently outspoken than the other 98% of us.

No one's opinion should ever incite so much hate.

No one's children should be ever be a target of contempt - and no, I am not talking about me targeting your children - I never did - but many of you targeted mine.

I have five beautiful daughters who are well-rounded, self-assured and are allowed to form their own opinions separate from mine, contrary to popular belief. They won't seek out your children and smear peanut butter on them. I promise. I won't go to your school and endanger your children. I promise. I am no threat to you. You need not be 'shocked' nor 'scared' nor whatever other emotion you felt and blamed on my words. I'm only 5 feet, 2 inches tall. But I'm told I have 'exquisite' ankles, for what that's worth.

The opinions posted on this blog are mine - and mine alone. If someone shares my opinions, it doesn't matter. If you don't share my opinion - it still doesn't matter.

The comments posted on Allergymom.com, as most media-type outlets with their own agenda, were taken out of context. If you do that with the Bible, you can find justification for a father to 'lay down' with his daughter. This is a very dangerous practice.

I don't deserve nor merit your pity as I have a wonderful life regardless of the burdens I have had to overcome. I never felt the urge to place my burdens on anyone else, but I will not judge you for your decision to place your burdens on others.

I am not overwhelmed by mothering five children. In fact, the opposite is true. They give me strength, comfort, hope and laughter.

I wish the same for you.

pass the popcorn, please!